Orkney Housing Association has agreed to become a member of not-for-profit energy supplier Our Power, just as it launches a new tariff that will be of interest to many electricity customers in the county.
The Association’s Management Committee last week agreed to the recommendation that it should join Our Power, which has recently partnered with Money Advice Scotland to tackle the issue of fuel poverty among customers who heat their homes by electric storage heating and are tied into using restricted meters.
Our Power has launched a variable tariff that offers a fairer energy price for customers on restricted meters. These customers were previously excluded from accessing competitive tariffs and typically pay up to two-and-a-half times more to heat their homes than a household heated by gas. They are often unable to switch providers, and are therefore unable to access tariffs across the market or tariffs available to single rate meter customers. This results in little or no choice around their tariff or their supplier.
Launched in 2016 by social housing providers, including housing associations and local authorities, Our Power was set up as a social enterprise with the aim of providing fair, affordable, clean and secure energy for all customers, while removing discrimination and poverty from the energy sector.
Chair and co-founder at Our Power, Alister Steele, said:
“This is exactly the type of unfairness Our Power was created to address. Through no fault of their own thousands of people across Scotland are being disadvantaged by the type of electric meter they are using. As we enter the grip of Winter the blight of fuel poverty will bite across our communities. Our ethos is about fairness, offering customers choice and respect through good service. Consumers on restricted meters have the right to choose more affordable energy. This is at the heart of this campaign.”
Craig Spence, Chief executive Orkney Housing Association, said:
“Our Management Committee and staff team are passionate about doing all we can to reduce fuel poverty. We have an in-house Energy Officer and work closely with THAW Orkney. Through membership of Our Power, we can now promote a cheaper tariff to our residents and ensure every new tenant is set up on an ethical, more affordable tariff. The ethos of Our Power operating on a non-profit basis is one that is important to us. Any of our customers who would like support or help to switch energy provider can contact Robert Leslie, Energy Officer on 875253 and he will be happy to help.”
Yvonne MacDermid, Chief Executive, Money Advice Scotland, commented:
“As we enter Winter, our network of member money advisors are confronted with the fall-out of fuel poverty on a daily basis. Front and central to dealing with this issue is ensuring that all consumers, irrespective of their financial status or where they live, have access to a broad range of tariffs. We are aware of the issue of restricted meters preventing customers from accessing more affordable energy and we welcome Our Power’s move to find a solution.”
This customer group, on restricted or complex metering set up, have not had the opportunity to and cannot switch their supplies through Price Comparison websites. This is due to the complex nature of the metering and switching sites not supporting this type of customer.
Our Power has created a simple form to capture and process their supply details and customers can view an estimate of savings against an incumbent supplier’s tariff at www.our-power.co.uk/takecontrol